Integration of Social Capital and Organizational Learning Theories to Improve Operational Performance

  • M. BirasnavEmail author
  • Richa Chaudhary
  • Joanne Scillitoe
Original Research


This study focuses on integrating the premises of social capital theory and the theory of organizational learning to improve the operational performance of firms nurturing the buyer–supplier relationship. Social capital theory highlights the importance of developing social relationships between firms to create valuable resources and collectively access critical resources. Organizational learning theory highlights that the learning capacity of an organization strongly depends on top-level leaders’ behaviors, organizational structure, culture, and flexibility, and uncertainties in the environment in which the organization functions. Though many studies have focused on the impact of social capital on performance improvements in the buyer–supplier relationship, the interlinkages between social capital and organizational learning have not been given much attention. Based upon these theories, a system-focused perspective, which showcases the antecedents and outcome of the relationship between collaborative communication and learning, has been proposed in this study. A literature review has been carried out to support the linkages in the proposed conceptual model. Findings suggest that transformational buyers support creating cognitive capital with suppliers. This cognitive capital influences the structural capital, which supports improving the understanding of each party’s processes in the buyer–supplier relationship when parties have high long-term orientation. Improved learning capability reshapes organizations into flexible systems capable of responding quickly to customer requirements, and consequently, they realize a higher performance level.


Collaborative communication Information technology competency Long-term orientation Organizational learning Supplier knowledge Transformational leadership 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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© Global Institute of Flexible Systems Management 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementNew York Institute of TechnologyOld WestburyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology PatnaPatnaIndia
  3. 3.David Nazarian College of Business and EconomicsCalifornia State University NorthridgeNorthridgeUSA

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